How to Tell the Truth—Speaking Up with Purpose
As we flew home, belted in the private corporate jet and feeling all snazzy, still elated from a major meeting, we were chatting strategy and how this was going to be great for the company, yet I was depleted and confused.
I leaned in and asked our C.E.O (an arrogant and very monied man),
“Why did you lie to them?”
He responded as he would to his young daughter, condescending and surprised to be asked (challenged) by little ol’ me.
“They will never remember anyway. We have to keep them interested.”
My head was spinning as I sat back, wondering who was wrong, who was right and what mattered here.
I sat into the darkness and slumped into my head and heart, both feeling defeated. Did everything I learned from principled parents mean nothing in corporate America? Did my dad ever have these dilemmas? I wondered if I was going to have to be evil and dishonest to succeed. All I saw around me were men who were back slapping each other, congratulating their prowess and brilliance.
I felt sick and shrunk into my seat and my career….wondering what my future would look like. Wondering how I was going to do this. Wondering if I would have to sacrifice my success and future because “nice people finish last.” That had to be written by someone like me.
I fought for my soul that day. I fought for my parents’ teachings and I fought for the world.
I could not accept that being successful meant lying.
I could not accept that being successful was not for me.
I could not accept playing small.
I was 34 and I was confused.
There have been more times like these in my career, but each time, I was stronger, surer of myself and eventually I was able to stand tall.
Fast forward 22 years and a whole world is still challenged with speaking out.
Wells Fargo sales practices…fake, liars.
Equifax breach…don’t let anyone know.
VW emissions fraud…..more lying.
Harvey Weinstein “allowed” to prey on women for years…more lying.
I am sick of it.
Not speaking up is hurting not only ourselves, but others.
We need to speak up and know that RIGHT is RIGHT.
Honoring your own soul is the first step.
Knowing who we are is necessary. Knowing our soul’s alignment is FIRST.
We let people get away with lies and hurt and doing the wrong thing when we are off alignment, when we are driven to fear and when we are playing small.
When we think we need the approval of others we are immediately vulnerable to their values dictating our lives. This is not acceptable.
Here are a few solid steps to speaking up.
- Know who you are. Get acquainted with your inner being. Know your soul’s “print”. Who are you inside? What fuels you? What drives you? What values are you drawn to, because they are YOU?
- Realize that there are more than 2 options to speaking up. Most of my clients are convinced it is either:
- Say nothing so there is no confrontation,
- Blow up in frustration and lose it all in an emotional tirade.
- Create a belief system around why speaking up and honoring yourself is good for the greater good. More than likely, you aren’t the only one with these thoughts. Craft your position as it relates to what is important to the organization (or family, or pack of friends, whatever unit of people) this lying is affecting.
- Create a plan to speak up by creating alliances. Have discussions with others as comfortably as you can. You may find others who are shrinking and being afraid. Just be you… probably not best to push your ideas too far to create others’ defensiveness.
- Realize there may be push back and disagreement. Have your plans in place and PLAN B. You may be in a “no-win” situation and need to make exit plans. Be smart and strategic about it.
- Keep practicing your own alignment and stay strong with your inner being.
- Have a support system not attached to the outcome. Find family and friends who will support your efforts. You may just need to be heard. DO NOT use your friends and family for validation. Your inner being is your validation.
Being in a situation where you feel you need to step up, speak up and/or step into your power can be challenging. Boy, do I know it. I have anguished over many situations in my career and life, I have not stood up, I have stood up….life is a warrior’s journey.
When I am confused and feeling unsure I take a look into the future and ask myself,
“What do I want to look back on in 30 years?”
“Having said something?”
“Having said nothing?”
“Having fled the situation?”
Life is for our growth.
Life is all happening FOR us.
Life is rich and rewarding when we live it from our inner being.
Bring Your Soul To Work.
It feels good to be the YOU you are meant to BE!